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Edinburgh Tourism Conference City's tourism performance figures released

At the annual Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre today (21 January) Convener of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Economy Committee, Councillor Frank Ross, unveiled the first ‘Strategy Performance Monitoring Report’ based on the five core indicators set out in the Edinburgh 2020 Tourism Strategy.

Edinburgh 2020, launched two years ago at the ETAG conference, set out a clear and ambitious vision for tourism.  The strategy aimed to act as a catalyst for partnership and collaboration across the industry and build the case for, and prioritise investment in, the tourism product.  

The Strategy Performance Monitoring Report today shows that the city is ahead of target for every one of the core indicators, with visitor trips and spend both showing particularly significant increases.

While it will be some time before official 2013 statistics are available, indications are that last year was another strong year for the sector, with a particularly successful summer:
• Hotel occupancy in August 2013 was 92.8% compared with 89.8% in 2012
• Revenue per available room at £111.83 was 7.7% higher than last year (£100.50)
• Achieved daily rates at £120.55 was 11.2% higher than August last year (£112.00)
• Edinburgh Castle up 26% up for the summer months
• Summer Festivals ticketed event attendance up on average by 5%
• Edinburgh Airport had its busiest year ever  

This success has extended beyond the summer.  In November hotel occupancy was 80.6% – the highest figure on record and revenue per available room for the same period was up from £61.82 to £66.84.  December 2013 saw a footfall increase of 32% on 2012.   

Councillor Ross commented:  “These figures suggest that 2013 in general was a very good year for the sector and that we are successfully addressing the seasonality issues for the city, increasing visitor numbers and spend in what were traditionally the quieter times of year.  

“However, it is vital that we do not get complacent and continue to invest in success.  We need to get the mix right to ensure Edinburgh’s competitive position is maintained by building capacity in transport, accommodation and facilities, create and communicate reasons to visit and provide a great quality, value for money visitor experience.”  

The overall theme of this year’s conference was 2014 and Beyond…. looking at the growth opportunities and challenges for the tourism sector going forward.   

Chair of ETAG, Robin Worsnop, commented:  “Whilst we will be able to celebrate some milestones on our journey to 2020, our focus remains very much on maintaining momentum on the road ahead. Critical to success in achieving the vision set out in the Edinburgh 2020 strategy is growing the successful partnership forged between the public and private sectors, which embraces the city’s political, economic and business stakeholders.

“2014 is undoubtedly a huge year for Scotland’s tourism industry, however we must learn from the experience of others that hosting these major events is a potential springboard for future success and ensure that our partnership remains focused on achieving the aims of our long term strategy and see 2014 as a milestone rather than the end of the journey.”

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